Formed in 1961 by seven bereaved Seattle-area couples whose infants died from unknown causes, the SIDS Foundation of Washington was a strong parent-driven organization for over forty-five years. This parent group worked to bring about the definition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. The term describes the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than 1 year of age. It is the second oldest SIDS organization in the country. Collaborating with University of Washington doctors, this parent group brought about the first official definition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and organized the first international SIDS conference.

In 1971, the SIDS Foundation of Washington became a Chapter of the National SIDS Foundation, later renamed the SIDS Alliance. In 1994, the SIDS Foundation incorporated under the name the SIDS Foundation of Washington as an independent SIDS organization that officially served the state from its main office in Seattle and a branch office in Spokane. It informally served Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska as well, for these states did not have a formal SIDS program.

In early 1998, the SIDS Foundation of Washington moved out of Children's Hospital in Seattle and set up an office in the historic Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford district; where it currently does business.

In the spring of 2007, the SIDS Foundation of Washington changed its name to Northwest Infant Survival Alliance-SIDS Foundation of Washington (NISA-SIDS) to reflect a shift in focus to larger issues of risk-reduction education and infant survival, as well as its outreach to other unexplained infant deaths. In August 2009 the name was shortened to Northwest Infant Survival & SIDS Alliance (NISSA).